Singapore, 10 December 2013 – Singapore Polytechnic (SP) sealed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Waseda University (WU), one of Japan’s prestigious research universities today to advance mutual research and development in areas such as robotics, food technology, advanced materials and sports technologies.
The MoU will also see WU collaborating with SP, a local academic institution for the first time ever, to conduct research and development in biomedical sciences. Both parties will work to develop applied bioimaging technologies and solutions to screen and test tissue samples for a range of diseases such as cancer.
The MoU is timely and a good boost for the local biomedical science industry. The Economic Development Board estimates that more than S$1.49 billion is spent on biomedical Research & Development annually. Between 2000 and 2010, Singapore’s biomedical manufacturing output had quadrupled from S$6 billion to S$23.3 billion and the industry has grown to account for about 5 per cent of the national GDP.
The five-year partnership will bring together scientists, biomedical knowledge and technologies from WU and SP. WU has a research presence in Singapore since 2009 through the Waseda Bioscience Research Institute. The research institute is WU’s first full-fledged overseas research centre, started with the intention of spearheading its leading edge research in the biosciences, and building collaborations with the local universities and research institutes.
Discussions and plans are also underway to house a segment of the Waseda Bioscience Research Institute in a joint laboratory with an area of up to 1000-square feet within SP. This will be the first ever joint research laboratory between a local educational institution and WU. The new joint laboratory will focus on a range of research topics such as bioimaging and next generation sequencing.
To further research and development in bioimaging, SP’s Centre for Biomedical and Life Sciences (CBLS) plans to incorporate WU’s technology of analysing temperature sensitive tissues into its prototype Fluorescence Live Imaging Microscopy (FLIM) system. Developed by CBLS, FILM is a fully automated system that speeds up the tissue scanning and testing process.
As compared to current automated systems, the new FLIM system with WU’s technology will be able to produce the world’s first tissue test results that are of high-resolution. The system will not only provide enhanced accuracy in the tissue test results but it will also improve the efficiency and productivity of pathologists. Currently, tissue tests for a range of diseases such as cancer are done in a manual and labour intensive manner. This new technology could be commercialised and made available to hospitals in the near future.
The laboratory also plans to research and develop an efficient and detailed analysis system to screen for harmful soil and water contaminants using next generation sequencing. Current methods for testing soil and water contaminants involve the running of multiple tests for multiple contaminants. The new analysis system aims to detect multiple contaminants through a single test and will be useful to farmers and surveillance agencies like the National Environment Agency.
Affirming the MoU, Mr Lance Lim, SP’s Chief Technology Officer said, “It is a golden opportunity to collaborate with WU who is already a forerunner in biomedical science. By tapping on WU’s expertise and patents, SP can learn from one of the world’s best and boost our research efforts in order to develop beneficial technologies and solutions for the industry as well as the community.”
Mr Lance Lim, Chief Technology Officer, Singapore Polytechnic reaffirming the Memorandum of Understanding with Professor Yoshiaki Fukazawa, Chairman, Organisation for University Research Initiatives, Waseda University.
From left to right: Professor Shin’ichi Ishiwata, Director, Waseda Bioscience Research Institute; Mr Lance Lim, Chief Technology Officer, Singapore Polytechnic; Professor Yoshiaki Fukazawa, Chairman, Organisation for University Research Initiatives, Waseda University; and Mr Zainal Mohd, Deputy Director, Research & Development Operations, Singapore Polytechnic.
Please view the Opening Address by Mr Lance Lim, Chief Technology Officer, SP, here.
Please view the speech by Professor Yoshiaki Fukazawa, Chairman, Organisation for University Research Initiatives, Waseda University, here.
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Mr Edmund Heng
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About Singapore Polytechnic (www.sp.edu.sg)
Established in 1954, Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is Singapore’s first polytechnic. It has 10 schools that offer 49 full-time diploma courses for close to 16,000 students. SP has adopted a proven creative teaching and learning framework and it offers students a holistic, authentic and industry-relevant curriculum, innovative and vibrant learning spaces, and enriching overseas programmes.
The Polytechnic is committed to producing competent and versatile graduates, who are also imbued with sound values, so that they can be work ready, life ready and world-ready. Among the network of more than 170,000 SP alumni are successful entrepreneurs, top executives in multinational and public-listed corporations, and well-known professionals across various industries and leaders in government.
SP is the first polytechnic to be awarded the President’s Award for the Environment in 2010 and the President's Social Service Award in 2011.
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About Singapore Polytechnic’s Centre for Biomedical and Life Sciences
In 2001, Singapore Polytechnic set up the Centre for Biomedical and Life Sciences (CBLS) to develop a vibrant applied Research & Development culture to support technology development with a focus on drug discovery, bioprocessing, chemical synthesis and plant biotechnology.
In 2009, CBLS refocused their Research & Development efforts on developing diagnostic kits for infectious diseases and oncology. A few successful kits such as the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease test kit and MRSA screening test kit have already been licenced for commercialisation.